The new and improved Contact List

Introducing the new and improved Contact List

The contact list is one of the most important components of the Lync experience. In the latest version of Lync, we have made a bunch of enhancements to the contact list to help you stay connected your contacts. One of the first things you’ll notice after installing Microsoft Lync is the photos in the contact list! Photo is one of the many things we added to the contact list to improve the contacts experience. In this blog article, I’m going to touch on a few things including tips on how to customize the contact list to help you get the most out of your Lync experience.

There are a few new features in the Lync contact list that deserve some attention:

1. Frequent Contacts
If you were a Microsoft Communicator 2007 user, you’ll notice that “Frequent Contacts” has replaced “Recent Contacts” as the first group in the contact list (the recent contacts group has been moved to the “conversations environment”).

Frequent contacts group is intended to bubble up contacts you frequently IM and/or call via Lync to the top of the contact list without user intervention. When you start Microsoft Lync for the first time, the Frequent Contacts group is auto-populated with your manager and direct reports. As you start calling and IM-ing people with Lync, a cache is created to keep track of your communication patterns. Any contact who you have had a peer to peer conversation with more than 4 times will automatically be added to your Frequent Contacts group. The frequent contacts group will show up to 10 system suggested contacts.
In scenarios where you wish to add a contact to the Grequent contacts group because you want to track their availability but do not frequently IM or call this person at work (for example your spouse), Frequent contacts group lets you do this by either dragging and dropping the contact to the Frequent contacts group, or right clicking on the contact and selecting “Pin to Frequent Contacts”. Contacts that you have pinned will always appear before the system generated frequent contacts. The “pinned” vs. “unpinned” contacts are separated by a line. There is no limit to the number of contacts you can pin.


2. Rich presence
In addition to showing photos in the contact list, the contact list also surfaces rich presence data. The intent is to make it easy for you to glance for presence data from Lync. We know the importance of presence information when deciding to start a real-time communication session with someone. The presence bar is closely tied to the photo, and presence and capability strings are shown next to the contact display name. Also, in the second line of the contact entry, the contact’s status note or location information (if available) is shown. If the second line note or location is truncated, you’ll notice a carat at the end of the line; clicking on that button will expand the note.


3. Contact card
For those you who have been using Office 2010, you have probably seen the new contact card. Lync has the same contact card as Office 2010. The mini version of the contact card is opened whenever you hover over the photo or name, or single click on a contact. This mini version of the card can be expanded by clicking on the chevron on the bottom right corner. The contact card is the place to go to quickly look up contact details, and start a communication session (whether it’s IM, call or email).



4. Different ways to view your contacts
We understand that there are users who like to customize their contact list. They may wish to see more contacts, or organize their contacts based on availability vs groups. Lync provides different ways for you to customize your contact list to meet your working style and requirements.

All the options to control the display and layout of the contact list is located right below the search box. You’ll notice 3 labels: Groups, Status, Relationship. These are the 3 ways to organize your contact list.


Groups view is the conventional view that lets you view your contacts by Frequent contacts and other groups you’ve created. Status view groups your contacts based on their availability: Online, Away, Available and Unknown. Lastly the relationship view groups your contacts based on the system’s privacy groups: Friends and Family, Workgroup, Colleagues, External Contacts, Blocked Contacts. If you use the relationship view, keep in mind that each of these relationship groups have permissions assigned to them. For example, people in “Workgroup” can see all your contact information you have published except for home and other phone numbers. To find out the permissions associated with each relationships view, right click on a contact and select “Change Privacy Relationships”; there sub-menu has a detailed description of each relationship group.

To the right of these 3 view options, you’ll find the contact list display options menu. Here, you can turn off photos in the contacts, change the sort order of contact list, hide the Frequent contacts group, etc. I encourage you to play around with these options and find a contact list layout works best for you.


I hope you find this blog article helpful. Enjoy the contact list!

Thanks for reading,

Published Friday, November 19, 2010 5:24 PM by octeam


Comments (64)

  1. Anonymous says:

    Why did they take:  "Create New Group"  out of the menu options?  

  2. Anonymous says:

    Lync for the Mac still has this feature – maybe Microsoft didn't get around to "improving" the Mac version yet.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Another corporate user sorely missing offline contacts.

    Because I work for a global company with employees in 6 different time zones, at any given point in my workday, the majority of my overall contact list is offline.  

    If a contact is offline, there's no point in me seeing them in Lync since there's nothing useful Lync can do for me (other than letting me email that person, but if I wanted to email them, I'd be in Outlook already).

    With Communicator I could very quickly scan down my list of online contacts to find someone I could IM with or call.

    Now I have to scroll through pages and pages of offline contacts and pay attention to the color of their status.

    This may be new, but certainly not improved.

  4. I love the new Lync client – except for one thing.  You have all these group by options except the one that is really important for large contact lists that was present in Communicator – group offline contacts together!!!  Please please please bring this back – it's a pain to scroll through all my offline contacts in a group to get to the next group!

  5. julian says:

    So how do you add a group? Well, duh, guess you thought users would all want to work the Microsoft way? Even Lotus SameTime, the horrible app we are migrating from, allows you to do this!

  6. Valeria says:

    I'm only missing one thing: subdivision in the groups.

    Now I have about 7 HR groups in my OC. Subdivision would make it so much easier, not to mention de-clutter it.

  7. Scott says:

    How do you search contacts?  I cannot get a list of users even the ones that are in the presentation on how to use the system do not show up.

  8. remove contact says:

    Just started using Lync and love it so far. Only problem is I can't remove a contact. I try, and I get "Cannot add, remove, or move contacts or groups at this time. Please try again later." I've waited lots of laters and still can't do anything. Any help would be appreciated.

  9. cheap windows 7 key says:

    External Contacts, Blocked Contacts. If you use the relationship view, keep in mind that each of these relationship groups have permissions assigned to them. For example, people in “Workgroup” can see all your contact information you have published except for home and other phone numbers. To find out the permissions associated with each relationships view, right click on a contact and select “Change Privacy

  10. Robert G says:

    Will it ever be a option to pull contact from the Exchange GAL.  If I'm trying to look up somebody's phone number and they are not on Lync it would be handy.

  11. Glenn says:

    Still using Office Communicator 2007. Need to add the functionality to have subgroups and to be able to edit the display name of a person. Also, would be useful if could connect to Cisco Phone system to make actual phone call.

  12. marek says:

    I really enjoy this client, but I would love to be able to hide offline contacts.  I have no need in them cluttering up my view, and this seems like a pretty standard feature in any IM client.  

  13. Eric says:

    I need to be able to hide offline contacts – If Lotus Notes can, then Communicator should be able too.

  14. Jonathan says:

    Integrating the contact list with GAL in Active Directory would be great!  It's one of the key limitations to the software.  Lync already integrates with AD but having each person maintain their contact list is an administrative nightmare!

  15. Daya says:


    I just found a new bug with the MS Communicator version 2007 R2. When i add a contact to my list then that alert/message is not displaying in other end if the OS version differs each other. And alert will be displayed immediately after next time login.  

    It has really disappointed me 🙁   – to some extent

    One thought: I feel live object remains the same regardless of the OS version. I hope inter OS will not be a issue if you are raising the alert through Events and Delegate mechanism so i think there might be some issue before raising the event in this case.

    This fix will really help many users since by that time only they can come to know whether recipient accepted or rejected the request.


    Dayananda Swamy V.T

  16. LeAnn says:

    I want to know how to create a group when the option isn't available to me.

  17. paul says:

    Is there a way to sort the groups created within Lync? All I can do is move them up or down.

  18. nick says:

    It's repeated a few times, but adding a check box "hide offline contacts" would be useful.

    This allows those of us who prefer to sort by grouns (not status) to also hide those offline.

  19. Scott Owens says:

    Lync really added a lot to the unified communications environment, i really love the way you can deal with your contacts on the Lync client but there is one issue. Contact management is not that easy especially if you have many users within your organization or business as in my we are a medium size business but i can't find a better way to do it. Any suggestions pls!!

  20. danny says:

    you can go with Contacts Manager for Lync or OCSCM for OCS

    that's the best solution so far

  21. Kris M says:

    Is there a way to post links to your away message so that they can be 'clickable' by friends/contacts?

  22. jan says:

    Communicator 2007 user: I tend to have several active conversations open at the same time. Although I have 3 screens on my desk, they don't "organize" neatly. I would like to see some kind of a conversation organisator of some sort, to solve this.

  23. Recent Contacts says:

    Would like to see Recent Contacts be an option to add back to the top — instead of replacing Recent contacts with Frequent Contacts.  Make both Recent & Frequent optional.

  24. Bryan says:

    I totally agree with Derek! I work in an Enterprise environment so my contact list is quite large. I have it sorted into groups I created, but, like Derek says, I have to scroll pages and pages of contacts to get to the one I'm looking for. I liked the old Office Communicator 2007 where it allowed me to have my groups, AND sort them by status/availability (Hide offline contacts, and move away contacts to their own group). THAT was VERY nice! Probably the BEST feature of the program; especially for we users that have hundreds of contacts.

    I hope this get's through to someone to PLEASE bring this option back!

  25. John S2 says:

    PLEASE bring back the Recent Contacts list in the main window.  That is something we use multiple times on a daily basis!!!!!

  26. szekelya says:

    It seems that there's no Lync article, that wouldn't collect countless comments begging for hiding offline contacts.

    I'm pretty good at translating customer complaints into creative ideas, even the most obscure ones. So let me give a hint: add the possibility to hide offline contacts.

  27. Jon says:

    Is there a way i can create and manage a contact list centrally? In other words, I want to push the contact list to other users? I think it's very lame to let our users add users and create their own contact lists individually. Being an IT manager, I have been looking for a such a solution. Any Ideas guys?!!

  28. Tim says:

    I would like to remove Status and Relationships from the Lync client. We currentlly only need to see the "group" tab. Is there a way in doing this? How do I keep my clients from searching there local contact lists on there pc when they are looking up a Lync user? For Example: If I have a user name John Smith is in Lync, but when I do a serch for him on Lync I type in his last name and it pulls up a list of "Smiths" that  are only available in my email client, but they are seen in my search.

  29. Steve says:

    I have two contacts that keep showing up as Workgroup members (vs. colleagues) and as Delegates.  I've never set them as Delegates.  Whenever I remove them as Delegates and change them to Colleagues, they automatically reappear as Delegates.  Why – and, how do I permanently change this ?

  30. Rick Gaskin says:

    I don't know if it's been proposed before (or exists in any obscure tool bar), but an additional useful piece of information for me, with many scattered colleagues across the globe, it would be useful to see not only if they're active or online but what time they are on in relation to my own.  

    So, for international (and cross state) business it would be beneficial to be able to select to display the contacts time zone description and / or local time.

  31. Matt says:

    We need to be able to hide offline contacts – a simple feature that has been available within IBM Sametime for years…

  32. sheesh says:

    I just want to decrease the font size of the contacts so I don't have to scroll… Heck even a Small/large choice like Windows icon selections would be nice…  this thing looks like it was designed by Fisher-Price or Mattel… "The cow says, "MOOOOOOOOOOOO"

  33. Cameronk says:

    Oh come on! Bring back Group Offline Contacts! Why on earth would you  take away this feature?!?!?!

  34. LyncUser.CA says:

    Is there a way to bring back 'recent contacts' like there was in Communicator?  I know some might say that 'frequent contacts' is the same thing, but those who have used recent contacts know this is not the case.  

    Please let me know if there is a solution or quick patch to bring back the functionality of this group.

  35. cmcirillo says:

    We've just moved to Lync and the amount of complaints we're getting about the lack of ability to group or hide offline contacts in the "Group" tab is ridiculous. I actually feel embarrassed about suggesting to people they use the "Status" option as they give me the same answer I agree with which is "But I have my contacts grouped into teams!"

    As an example I have three teams of 10 people open for which I only care about the online status (In fact I only care about the online status of anyone, if they're offline, they're no use to me. In Communicator this took up a tiny amount of screen real estate, now in Lync I can't see half the third team as the offline contact push it off the screen.

    This feature must be SO Easy to implement and yet with a lack of any tangible response, Microsoft seem not to care or want to do anything about it.

  36. John says:

    Please bring back 'Recent Contacts' list! It's very useful if you're working with many people on a limited basis such as helpdesk or call centers.

  37. Gregg5 says:

    I hate the photos, all those faces staring at me as I am working; it reminds me of a Stephen King story.

  38. user says:

    I really miss recent contacts.  Only one person shows up in frequent contacts for me because I don't IM that much and usually to many people, not just a few.  Surely I'm not the only user with this pattern of use.

    Recent contacts makes a lot more sense for users like me.  I don't know what you guys were thinking.  I mean I could understand making absent by default, but I can't find a way to bring it back.  I think this blog post should be "The new and but worse Contact List".

  39. JoAre says:


    Why isn't there any response to the comments from the authors?

    Will there be an option to group off-line contacts together and stil have the group view?

  40. Dan_IT says:

    I'd just like to point out a ridiculous flaw in the contact list which is the "Call" button that appears when you hover over someone's name. Who thought having a UI with buttons that suddenly appear beneath your mouse (on top of another clickable area, no less!) was a good idea? Everyone in the office is ends up calling each other on accident and having to hang up, leaving the unfortunate recipients with "missed call" notifications.

    I know Microsoft has never really been known for its user interfaces, but this oversight is just absurd.

  41. Large Flaw says:

    Hey guys how do i view contacts by Group AND sort by status? For instance Group A sorted so that all of the online contacts are near the top of that group , OR all offline contacts in Group A are hidden.

  42. laurie says:

    I use the IM for work for Windows 7.  I hate the fact that the default type is a font 5.  Who can read that. While I can change my font size, I can't enlarge anything from my contacts to the front of the sender so I can see everything comfortably. Why is everything so small now?

  43. Ondrej says:

    Please bring recent contacts back!  Frequent contacts if of no use at all because all you can find there are people you have in your contact list already in the first place. And it is definitely NOT an improvement. Do you even know what the improvement word mean?

  44. Bring recent contacts back says:

    Is there anyone responsible reading the posts here or no one at all?

  45. John says:

    REALLY disappointed with this update. Recent Contact was one of the most useful lists in Communicator and this new 'frequent contacts' is not a fraction as usual as the previous features. There should be a patch to recover that functionality.

  46. Emily says:

    Is there a way to decrease the amount of space between contacts in Lync so that you can quickly see who is online without having to scroll up and down? Seems like there is a LOT of white space- don't waste my screen real estate, Microsoft!

  47. ML49448 says:

    Wow – Microsoft, you really dropped the ball when removing Recent Contacts.  Frequent contacts is not nearly as useful.   It feels like it would have been a simple task to make the recent contact display configurable.  I'm left wondering if the ass-clown who made this decision still has a job.

  48. Ray Avila says:

    Stupid Microsoft… I really want my Recent Contacts back… AND DON't tell me to use FREQUENT CONTACT! IT IS NNOT THE SAMEE!!! ARGGHHH

    Damn Steve Ballmer

  49. Pk says:

    Lync not having the ability to hide offline contacts is a huge step back and a major let down 🙁 Office Communicator was way more user-friendly that way.

  50. sheila says:

    How can we get back the 'Recent Contacts' feature from MS Communicator?

    Lync 'Frequent Contacts'  does not work the same way 'Recent Contacts' did,  and frequent contacts is much less useful to me.

  51. sheila says:

    What they say in #1 above is not true:

       "(the recent contacts group has been moved to the “conversations environment”)."

    The names listed in the conversation environment disappear as soon as the conversation is ended, and in no way behave the same way 'Recent Contacts' did in Communicator.

    Is this site monitored by anyone from the Lync team?  What happens with these issues/problems posted here?

  52. Ani.Ani says:

    Please bring the Recent Contacts option back:

    Why does Microsoft always mess up with the good stuff: I have already deselected the Frequent contacts. It is of no use to me….

  53. Soma Shekhar says:

    Greatly Disappointed by this forced Upgrade. I feel Lync only gave cosmetic changes to OC. Now with recent Contacts and unable to hide Offline Contacts, i find no pleasure in working with it. C'mon MS no one damn cares about a profile pic or status tags or relationships in Work Environment. We have abundant Social Networking Options for that.

  54. Ted Beatie says:

    I can't believe I'm writing this in this day and age, just as I bet several other people on this post.

    Hiding offline contacts is a BASIC FEATURE.

    Recent contacts was way more useful than 'Frequent contacts'.

    The fact that 2 years later neither feature, previously available and widely used on Communicator, exists seems to imply that all of our loud cries don't matter.

  55. Anders says:

    Will it be possible to show Title and Office from AD in the Contact List? When you're searching for contacts the title field is shown on hits, but it's not when a user is added to the Contact List.

  56. David says:


    Telling me a DIFFERENT feature is wonderful is not an answer

  57. Recent contact says:

    Really, removing recent contact is a BAD design. Think about this, if the conversation windows is accidentally closed, how can you find out the contact person? If the person is not added into your contact, it would be quite inconvenient. Do hope to see "Recent contact" come back someday in future.

  58. baguli says:

    How to find a recently added contact. If you could not remember the name . how and where I can see that.

  59. Ryan Tunstall says:

    Why is there not a recent calls/received calls/missed calls icon or way of viewing them and re-dialing?

    Seems like Microsoft have a missed a trick here – this would greatly enhance the platform.

  60. Andrew says:

    Is there any way to create sub-groups in order to create a hierarchy within your contacts list (like most other clients?)  Also, is there a way to change the fonts, etc for the contact list?

  61. Dave says:

    Like Andrew I would like to know about creating sub-groups, this is quite essential for larger customers with hundreds of contacts, does anyone know if this is possible as I could not find anything anywhere about it.

  62. Roger says:

    Please allow us to disable adding users to Frequent Contacts. This is just plain annoying. I can add them myself.

  63. PHReyes says:

    Lync 2013 contact list width is too wide. It limits me to how much I can shrink the width and kills my space on the screen. How do we make this smaller like communicator?

  64. Patryk says:

    WHy would you remove recent contacts. im assuming you dont use this product at all.

    Everytime i have a ton of users in a corporate enviroment contact me i can reference who pinged me vs looking it up every time. FAIL!

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